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How Long Will it Take to Lose 50 Pounds With a 1,200 Calorie Diet?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
How Long Will it Take to Lose 50 Pounds With a 1,200 Calorie Diet?
A woman is standing on a bathroom scale set in kilograms. Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

If your doctor has suggested that you stick to a 1,200-calorie diet in order to lose weight, it's not automatically set in stone how quickly you'll shed 50 pounds. Weight loss isn't solely related to how many calories you consume; the calories you burn during exercise and everyday activities also play a role. Be patient, though, as it could take you close to a year to reach your 50-pound goal.

Lower Your Caloric Intake

A 1,200-calorie diet is very low. On average, women should get about 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, depending on their age and the physicality of their lifestyle. Men, meanwhile, should get 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day. It's unlikely a doctor would recommend that a man consume as few as 1,200 calories per day. An inactive female who needs to lose weight, however, may benefit from a 1,200-calorie weight-loss diet.

Work Toward a Daily Deficit

Consuming 1,200 calories per day won't necessarily result in weight loss. Although your body never stops burning calories, it increases its caloric burn when you begin to exercise or perform another vigorous activity. Provided your caloric burn exceeds 1,200 calories per day, you will begin to lose weight. If you burn 1,700 calories per day, for example, you create a deficit of 500 calories. This deficit equates to 3,500 calories, or 1 pound of weight loss, per week.

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Steady Weight Loss Is Key

Don't be discouraged if you find you're only able to lose weight at the rate of 1 pound per week. Although you'd need 50 weeks, or close to a year, to reach your goal of 50 pounds, 1 pound per week is a reasonable rate of weight loss. Organizations such as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggest that 1 to 2 pounds per week is a reasonable rate of weight loss. You might be able to lose more weight in a week through an abundance of exercise, but it's not practical to assume you can maintain this rate of weight loss.

Positive Changes Are Coming

It might take you a period of weeks before you notice physical signs of your weight loss, but you're already making positive strides related to your health. Losing between 5 percent and 10 percent of your total body weight can have rapid benefits, including providing relief for your knees and positive decreases in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you're diabetic, even moderate weight loss can lead your doctor to suggest lowering your dosage of medication.

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